Tianhe Rocket Launch set for Mid to Late April

17th Mar 2021
Long March 5B

The Long March 5B rocket is heading to Wenchang, as stated by the CASC (China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation). The news comes from a press release citation on February 16 from the CMSEO (China Manned Space Engineering Office). 

Takeoff for the heavy-lift rocket is scheduled at the WSLC (Wenchang Satellite Launch Centre). Once the 22 metric ton Tianhe core module arrives at the spaceport, the rocket will be assembled, integrated and tested. After that, the Landspace orbital launch will commence. 

The first part of this plan is underway as the Xu Yang 16 ship carrying the Tianjin rocket departed. Tianjin is the production location of different parts of the Long March 5B. The next stop for the ship was Qinglan harbour. 

China has opted not to announce the rocket launch timeline, but previous missions lasted around 2 months. The next one is set for April, judging from the history of former sendoffs. Blastoff preparations are underway in Wechang since the Tianhe core module is present. 

Once the rocket launch takes place, Tianhe is headed for low Earth orbit. The exact location is 370km with an inclination of 41 degrees. It’s intended to be a life support system for 3 astronauts who will operate the space station once it’s complete. 

Landspace Orbital Launch Meant to Set up China Space Station

The planned rocket launches will be crucial to the Chinese space station for over 2 years. The 11 liftoffs start in 2021 and will oversee 3 module sendoffs, 4 crewed flights, and 4 Tianzhou cargo missions. 

Long March 7 delivery, which is in its preparation stages, carrying vital supplies and fuel, will come right after the Tianhe rocket launch.

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